A former spammer is arguing in court that anti-spam laws are unconstitutional because they infringe free speech:
Jeremy Jaynes of Raleigh, N.C., was convicted in 2003 in the nation’s first felony anti-spamming case sentenced to nine years in prison. Prosecutors said Jaynes, using aliases and false Internet addresses, bombarded Web users with junk e-mails peddling sham products and services.
“There’s absolutely no question spam can be regulated,” Jaynes’ lawyer, Thomas Wolf, told the Virginia Supreme Court. “The problem with Virginia’s statute is that it attaches severe criminal penalties to unsolicited bulk e-mail of a noncommercial nature.”
Wolf told the Court that anonymous speech is protected by the First Amendment and that Virginia’s anti-spam law violates free speech protections because any anonymous message passing through Virginia servers would expose the sender — even a political or religious writer — with imprisonment.
The state said the law doesn’t prohibit speech at all: it prohibits falsifying Internet routing and transmission information to electronically trespass on a privately owned computer network.